LEXINGTON, Ky. — Don't blink when the gate springs open to start the Kentucky Derby. If you do, you could miss all the favorites making a mad dash to the first turn at Churchill Downs.

The field for the May 6 Derby is coming into shape, and the theme for this edition is speed, speed and more speed. The top three contenders in the Run for the Roses' final Top 10 — Brother Derek, Lawyer Ron and Barbaro — are front-runners who refuse to be caught when they take the lead.

Lawyer Ron was the latest to display his sheer speed, dragging jockey John McKee to the front along the backstretch en route to a 2 3/4-length victory in Saturday's $1 million Arkansas Derby — the colt's sixth straight win.

A week earlier, Brother Derek went gate-to-wire in capturing the Santa Anita Derby for his fourth straight victory. And a week before that, Barbaro stalked the pace before pulling away from Sharp Humor to win the Florida Derby his fifth straight victory.

They aren't the only speed demons, as Sinister Minister showed Saturday in an astonishing gate-to-wire, 12 3/4-length romp in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland, a victory that left once-promising Derby hopefuls Bluegrass Cat (fourth) and First Samurai (fifth) in his wake.

"I don't think Brother Derek can get in front of this guy," Sinister Minister trainer Bob Baffert said. "I don't think he wants to."

Dan Hendricks, who trains Brother Derek, says his colt can settle in behind a speed duel up front. "If a horse wants to be sent out there and be ridiculous, let him," he said. "We'll be close. Everybody knows what our style is."

The results of the Blue Grass and the Arkansas Derby had a huge impact on the Derby hopes and dreams of many:

Sinister Minister became Baffert's third Derby horse; Wood Memorial winner Bob and John, who also likes to run up front, and Santa Anita Derby runner-up Point Determined are the others.

Nick Zito saw two of his final Derby hopefuls fail to deliver: Little Cliff was eighth in the Blue Grass; Superfly was 11th in the Arkansas Derby. The Hall of Fame trainer, who sent out five starters last year, has one more chance with Hemingway's Key in next Saturday's Lexington Stakes.

Steve Asmussen's colts came through in the clutch, and the trainer could have two Derby starters in Storm Treasure (second in the Blue Grass) and Private Vow (third in the Arkansas Derby).

Todd Pletcher's Derby hopes took a hit with Bluegrass Cat's defeat as the 9-5 favorite, followed by High Cotton's ninth-place finish in the Arkansas Derby. Bluegrass Cat may still run in the Derby, and the trainer has two other contenders in Keyed Entry and Sunriver, who is likely to run in the Lexington.

First Samurai, once a leading Derby prospect, was 30 1/4 lengths behind Sinister Minister and likely won't run in the 1 1/4-mile Derby. The colt hasn't finished first in any of the races he's run at a distance over a mile.